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NASS Approves Emergency Rule

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Members of the House of Representatives yesterday passed a resolution endorsing the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States on May 14.

Our correspondent reports that the members adopted the resolution after a four-hour executive session.

During the session, the members deliberated on the Gazetted copy of the proclamation of the state of emergency sent to the House by Jonathan.

The Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, who read the proclamation on the floor of the House, said that the resolution was in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended.

According to Tambuwal, the constitution specified that that two-third attendance of members was required to approve the proclamation.

He said that the 253 members in attendance at Tuesday’s executive session surpassed the number required by the constitution.

The speaker said that the House considered the approval clause by clause with some amendments.

According to one of the amendments, the President shall transmit proclamation of emergency rule to the National Assembly after three days of the proclamation.

Tambuwal promised that the House would “give all support needed” to the security operatives to enable them succeed in their operations.

He, however, cautioned the operatives to be mindful of law abiding Nigerians, who are not involved in the security threat and urged them to operate within the rules of the game.

The speaker appealed to the insurgents to accept the hand of friendship extended to them by the Federal government.

Meanwhile, the House has constituted a six-man conference committee to work with the Senate to harmonise the proclamation from the two chambers of the National Assembly.

In a related development, the Senate after over an hour  in a closed door meeting yesterday through a unanimous voice vote approved President Goodluck Jonathan’s last week declaration of state of emergency  in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, urging the Federal Government to ensure adequate funding of the operation while the troops must adopt only actions within the rules of engagement.

According to the  Senate President, Senator David Mark and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Information , Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate went into closed door to enable the members discuss extensively and  speak frankly on the issue and to avoid unnecessary persecution  by some “mis- informed” members of the public and to ensure that the entire Senate takes responsibility for approval

or disapproval of the emergency rule declared by President Jonathan.

The strategic closed door meeting  was however able to draw a voice approval of the whole 100 Senators who attended yesterday’s plenary, including the ACN Senators whose party had collectively stood against the state of emergency rule as no dissenting voice was heard at the voice voting.

Senate President, David Mark, noted that it was very important that  adequate funding   for the operation is ensured  by the Federal Government  for a hitch-free operation, emphasizing that all democratic structures shall remain on ground and enabled to participate actively in the peace process.

Mark harped on the need to ensure that the peoples suffering be alleviated and not forced to go through further inhumane treatments.

His words: “In the closed session, we extensively discussed some of the issues that we think are very important to this proclamation of state of emergency.

“We want to emphasise in fact, and very emphatically, that all democratic structures must be left in place and must be allowed to operate fully and actively. And they must also be involved in all the

efforts that the Federal Government is putting up to bring this ugly situation to an end. We also would like to emphasise that the armed forces should be issued a proper code of conduct where they will be humane, benevolent and make sure that all citizens are treated with utmost respect so that they do not loss their respect as human beings.

“We are conscious of the fact that the government is taking this step as the last resort, but alongside that, we want to encourage the government to also urge the committee on amnesty to work

alongside the current functions that are put in place to bring this to an end, so that at the end of the day, government can concentrate on their efforts to win the minds and hearts of the people in all the states that are affected”.

Mark also urged the Boko Haram insurgents in the states to cooperate with the troops  to ensure that a permanent solution to the crisis is achieved,  adding that the amnesty committee should also work with the authorities in the states towards resolving the problem.

 

“But we would also like to remind the commander-in-chief that the Federal Government must fund the operations properly and adequately.  We also would like to remind them that as operation is going on, relief materials and all medical materials should as quickly as possible be moved into the area so that the people can benefit from government presence

“We are conscious of the fact that this problem ought to have been brought to an end long ago but it is better late than never.  I want to appeal to the Boko Haram insurgents and terrorists, that it is still not too late to cooperate with the forces that are there in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states so that we can bring this to a logical conclusion as quickly as possible”.

The Senate President while  admitting that military power is not the solution to the problem, said it is only meant to cater for the people’s interest, and advised the Federal Government to take every step to hasten the peace pocess and not forget the need to rehabilitate the states when normalcy returns.

At the end of his remarks, Mark put the question on the approval of the state of energency on the three states and got a unanimous voice approval from the 100 senators at plenary.

Briefing  Senate correspondents, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said that the Senate was committed to resolving the crisis, pointing out that any supplimentary budget requested by the executive  for the funding  will be approved by the National Assembly in due course.

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

L-R: Executive Director, RSSDA, Mr Noble Pepple, Commissioner for Social Development and Rehabilitation, Hon Joe Poroma, Chairman, Okrika Local Government Council, Barrister Tamuno Williams and RSSDA Supervisory Chairman, Rev Canon Precious Omuku, at the Excellence in Local Government Initiative (ELGI) 2012 Award Night in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

L-R: Executive Director, RSSDA, Mr Noble Pepple, Commissioner for Social Development and Rehabilitation, Hon Joe Poroma, Chairman, Okrika Local Government Council, Barrister Tamuno Williams and RSSDA Supervisory Chairman, Rev Canon Precious Omuku, at the Excellence in Local Government Initiative (ELGI) 2012 Award Night in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

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Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow

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The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

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Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.

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$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others

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The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.

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